Connectedness, Originality, and Creativity: Class Takeaway 1

Author Note: This post is from my new blog, tiltingsideways.wordpress.com, which was created for a class. However, that blog is having some technical difficulties, so the post appears here.

Yesterday was the start of my journey to rediscover my creative and critical thinking side; I started a class called Seeing Sideways. As part of this class, I am required to write a class takeaway after each class to discuss something that really stood out to me during the class, why it stood out to me, and how it might help me on my journey through creative experimentation.

In my notebook yesterday, I wrote down “connectedness.” That isn’t a word, according to the WordPress spell-check, but I will use it as one. As the class went around giving their introductions, I realized (and it was pointed out by the professor), that we had a lot in common. We were already building solidarity with one another. A lot of our creative experiences and roadblocks were similar. Generally, this type of solidarity is something I don’t like to seek out. I like to work individually, and it soothes my mind to think that I am alone in some experience. However, this solidarity does exist, and I can’t simply ignore it. Of course, I could ignore it, but I would see that as a mistake.

After realizing the connectedness of the group, I started thinking of ways that the connectedness could be used as an advantage. It is said that two heads are better than one, and I believe that in the “real, working world,” an idea might be quickly solved or made better by two or more people who share similar experiences. They could draw on those experiences and use them to their advantage.

I also think that the brainstorming, critical thinking, and analyzing processes would improve when there are members of a group who share similar experiences. As individuals, they bring their own ideas to a project, but as a connected group, coming to a decision would be easier. Also, a group who have shared similar experiences (and are all aware of that solidarity) would likely also be a group that has more respect for each other. This could avoid inner group arguments.

From the first day of class. One of our shared experiences as a class was to roll our desks out into the hallway without leaving our chairs.

So, even though I would much rather complete a project on my own, I think that if I were forced to be in a group, I would rather be in one that has some form of connectedness. I’ve thought a lot about how to improve all kinds of workplace settings, and I think that employers could try to build a group with solidarity in order to get the best projects from the group. The knowledge that a group could work better if they all had a shared experience would probably help my future creative experiments that involve groups. If a group I’m in doesn’t seem to have much solidarity, I would probably find a way to seek solidarity with them before beginning the project. Whether that’s having some sort of group introduction, icebreaker, etc.

The second thing that stood out to me was the idea that nothing is original. I’ve been having similar conversations with friends about this idea due to a video about “columbusing” or when white people claim to have discovered something that was already discovered or created by someone else (most likely not white). The discussion with my friends surrounded yoga, and we all seemed to agree that white people haven’t columbused it (though some try to deny its spiritual roots). We agreed that the entrance of yoga into non-Hindu society has simply been an evolution of the practice. It’s all right to have taken the practice to a different (not better, not worse) level, as long as no one claims they invented or own it.

I think the same idea can probably be applied to the debate over whether original ideas actually exist. Our professor pointed out that idea may not be completely original, but it could be completely original to you. That’s okay, but if you were to become aware that someone else has also had that idea, you should use that as something that gives you solidarity, not use it against the other person. Because you both had that idea, you could both pull together your minds to make it even better. In typing that, I’m reminded of the war of the currents, and I also could go into a lengthy tangent over patents, but I digress.

The idea that nothing is probably completely original is very freeing to me as a person exploring my creativity. If I stop feeling like I’m treading over someone else’s idea, then I can just allow myself to create. My last thought would be that even though nothing is completely original, each thing is intrinsically original. Even if it were a clone, it’s still original. It is still its own entity. Things might be inspirations for one another, but the creation is always original. The idea might not be original, but the product is . . . and that is just something for me, and us, to think on.

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